There’s nothing that can truly prepare someone for a devastating injury. And when you’re a competitive athlete? An unexpected accident can change the course of your entire career. For Samantha Cerio, an Auburn University gymnast, her Friday floor routine at the NCAA gymnastics regionals in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went anything but planned.
The senior went for her first tumbling pass, attempting a handspring double front according to ESPN, landed awkwardly, and fell to the ground clutching both legs in pain. She was carried off the mat on a stretcher, and it was later revealed that she broke both of her legs and dislocated both knees. WARNING: The video footage is pretty gruesome.
On Sunday, Cerio gave us all the feels when she took to Instagram saying that Friday was her final night as a gymnast.
Friday night was my final night as a gymnast. After 18 years I am hanging up my grips and leaving the chalk behind. I couldn’t be prouder of the person that gymnastics has made me to become. It’s taught me hard work, humility, integrity, and dedication, just to name a few. It’s given me challenges and road blocks that I would have never imagined that has tested who I am as a person. It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned. Thank you Auburn family for giving me a home and a chance to continue doing the sport that will always be my first love. I am honored to have had the privilege to represent the navy and orange AU for the past 4 years with my team by my side. Thank you for letting me share my passion with you. Thank you for letting me be a part of something bigger than myself. War Eagle Always 💙🧡
A post shared by Sam Cerio (@sam_cerio) on
And despite the horrific ending to her career, she’s proud of how far she’s come and so, so thankful for the support she’s received from friends, family, and fans far and wide.
I wanted to reach out and thank everyone who has sent me encouraging messages. I truly appreciate all of the support and prayers that I have have received! I am doing well right now and getting lots of rest! From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much!
Talk about having some grace, right? Must’ve been super difficult, to end her college career like this. The good news? The aerospace engineering major recently told the school newspaper that she’s looking forward to life after gymnastics come graduation in May, and that she already has a job as a structural design analysis engineer with Boeing in Seattle.
“[My parents] reminded me that gymnastics will end eventually, and you need to have something to fall back on, something that you can be passionate about just as equally.”
Sending all of the healing vibes your way, Sam! You get a 10.0 from us.
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